St. Florian’s Gate, Krakow

Kraków | Brama Florjańska
Publisher: St. Kolowiec

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Across from the Barbican – to which it was once connected via drawbridge over the city moat – stands the iconic Floriańska Gate. Erected in 1307, this Gothic gateway tower and its adjacent towers (plus the Barbican) are almost all that remains of the city’s ancient defences which once circled the medieval Old Town. As the most important of the city’s eight medieval gates, St. Florian’s Gate was spared demolition during 19th century Austrian occupation thanks to last-minute local efforts. . . Standing 34.5 metres tall, including the Baroque ‘helmet’ added in the 17th century, Floriańska Gate features a stone eagle on the side facing the Barbican, and a 19th century bas-relief of Saint Florian on the side facing Floriańska Street. There is an altar in the actual passageway, and a hidden chapel in the tower itself
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Barbican in Cracow in 1799 (from Wikimedia Commons)

St. Florian’s Gate was built at the beginning of 14th century. It is the only one, of the original eight built in the Middle Ages, preserved city gate. It was once connected with the Barbican as a defense complex of the northern section of the city walls. This part of fortification featured stone watchtowers, fortified gates, and a moat. St. Florian’s Gate became the main entryway to the Old Town. The Gate is 34,5 metres high. In the late 15th century the tower was heightened and later, in 1660, a Baroque “helmet” was added. The face of St. Florian’s Gate from the Florianska Street, is adorned with an 18th-century relief of St. Florian. From the other side, the face bears a stone eagle, designed by Jan Matejko in 1820. It replaced a previous relief. Inside the gate, there is a classicist altar from the beginning of 19th century with the late-Baroque copy of the miraculous image of Virgin Mary.

“Album widoków Krakowa i jego okolic” [Album of views of Krakow & surroundings], (from Wikimedia Commons)
Built under the orders of Prince Leszek II in approximately 1285, St. Florian’s Gate was one of 8 towers that formed the city’s new defences, and was itself protected by the adjoining Barbakan gateway. Named after the nearby Church of St. Florian, the gate became the main entrance into the Old Town.It was the starting point of the Royal Road in Krakow, through which many monarchs, foreign envoys, coronation processions, and distinguished guests progressed to the Main Square and eventually towards Wawel Castle over the years.
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